I have talked before about music in magic and the emotions and energy that music can evoke. But what about your sense of smell?
A waft of a familiar perfume, tobacco or a favourite dish can open the flood gates to all kinds of memories.
The sense of smell can also be utilised in working magic, in fact you probably do it now without even thinking about it.
I often make a loose incense blend to honour a specific deity or for a particular intent. I use spices, herbs and resins with the scent that I associated with that goal.
Working with Ganesha a lot I create an incense blend made with Indian spices, cardamon, cloves and ginger. I have added fenugreek on occasion too, but the smell of it makes me think of old smelly socks. Now there is another connection to smell, we all have those odours that we don’t like too!
Although I do have a large collection of incense sticks and cones of all kinds of varieties, they tend to get thrown into a big box together and just used at random.
If I want to create something special I usually reach for the loose incense. I find I can work more easily with these, throwing in different items that have a correspondence or purpose. Unfortunately sometimes when making a blend for an intent, the magical properties of each ingredient work out well, but the scent doesn’t. It is a bit of a balance.
Essential oils are useful too, these tend to give a much stronger scent than loose incense. In fact I often add a few drops to my loose incense blends to boost their smell.
A question was asked the other day about how to tell if essential oil is still good to use, the answer given was to smell it. If it smells ok then go for it, if it smells bad then throw it away. This works as a good guide, although not so much if you just don’t like the scent! I use essential oil primarily for dressing candles but I do also use it for dabbing into spell pouches and anointing magical tools. But it really does carry the magic of smell with it.
Create a ‘scented prompt’ to put you in the mood for magic or anything else. Pop some salt or sand into the bottom of a small jar, add a few drops of essential oil and put the lid on. Each time you want to kick your senses into action take the lid off and have a sniff.
Scented candles offer an easy way to create a magical setting. Just be mindful that some of them use chemicals scents rather than natural ones and these can be dangerous not only to you but also to pets.
When I catch a waft of frankincense it makes me feel and think magic. Rose geranium is one of my favourite essential oil scents and one that I use a lot for love and happiness spell work, in part because it makes me smile when I smell it. Just the smell of cinnamon too whether it is on a sticky iced bun (delicious) or as an oil for magic makes me think of success.
All of these smells can be worked into your magic by using those that you associate with things.
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